Historical perspectives on Christianity and the future of our societies: philosophical considerations

  • Danie Strauss North-West University, South Africa
Keywords: Form motive, Greek Polis, Civil society, Undifferentiated societies, Differentiated societies, Societas perfecta, Individualism, Universalism, Pacta sunt servanda, Sphere-sovereignty, Civil private law, Natural law, Legal positivism, Historicism, Ontic normativity

Abstract

Historiese perspektiewe op die toekoms van ons samelewings: wysgerige oorwegings
Die organisering van ʼn Konferensie oor die Christendom en die Toekoms van ons samelewings gesamentlik ondersteun deur die “Association of Reformational Philosophy” (ARP) en “The Evangelical Theological Faculty” (ETF – Leuven), nooi ons sekerlik uit om aandag aan teologiese en filosofiese oorwegings te skenk. Tog was dit wenslik om allereers ons ontleding te rig op ʼn verdieping van ons wysgerige insig in die geskape werklikheid wat dan vrugbaar gemaak kan word vir ons besinning oor die menslike samelewing. Hierdie artikel is grootliks gerig op die verskil tussen ongedifferensieerde en gedifferensieerde samelewings omdat vanuit hierdie perspektief ʼn betekenisvolle besinning oor die toekoms van ons samelewings ontwikkel kan word. So ʼn benadering vereis dat ons rekenskap van die verlede sal gee deur die strukturele kondisies wat onderliggend aan beide die verlede en die toekoms is uit te lig. Deur hierdie weg te volg sal dit nodig wees om erkenning te verleen sowel aan modale as aan struktuur-tipiese beginsels wat samelewingsontwikkeling in al die dimensies daarvan begelei.1 Daar sal geargumenteer word dat hierdie beginsels onties van aard is en gevolglik duidelik onderskei moet word van hul wanvoorstelling in tradisionele natuurreg-teorieë sowel as die meer resente ontwortelende na-effekte van die historisme en die juridiese positivisme. Op sy beurt sal hierdie benadering rekenskap moet gee van die komplekse aard van (modale en tipiese) beginsels en tegelyk ʼn sensitiwiteit moet openbaar ten opsigte van die verband tussen ʼn beginsel en die toepassing daarvan. ʼn Oorsigtelike waardering van hierdie insigte sal verder ʼn bydrae lewer tot ʼn verdiepte wysgerige verstaan van die omvattende aard van die skeppping wat aan moderne gedifferensieerde samelewings ten grondslag lê. Deur hierdie oorwegings in verband te bring met die Christendom en die differensiasie van samelewings sal die belang van die skeppingsbeginsel van soewereiniteit-in-eie-kring ook vir die gedifferensieerde samelewings van die toekoms beklemtoon word.

Organizing a conference on “Christianity and the Future of our Societies” jointly sponsored by “The Association of Reformational Philosophy” (ARP) and “The Evangelical Theological Faculty” (ETF – Leuven), certainly invites philosophical and theological concerns in relation to the theme of this conference regarding the future of our societies. Yet our analysis aims at contributing “to the  deepening of philosophical insight in created reality” made “fruitful for academic studies and for society”. The scope of this paper is largely directed at the difference between undifferentiated societies and differentiated societies because only from this perspective does it become meaningful to contemplate the future of our societies. Such an approach requires that our account of the past contemplates the structural conditions underlying both the past and the future of our societies. Embarking on this path will therefore call for an acknowledgement of the modal and structural (typical) principles guiding societal development in all its dimensions.2 It will be argued that these principles are ontic in nature and therefore should be distinguished from their misrepresentation in traditional theories of natural law as well as in the more recent uprooting effects of historicism and legal positivism. This argument, in turn, will have to give an account of the complex nature of (modal and typical) principles with a view to the connection between a principle and its application. A brief assessment will be given of the contribution of these insights for a deepened philosophical understanding of the encompassing nature of creation making possible modern differentiated human societies. Relating these considerations to the influence of Christianity on the differentiation of societies will underscore the importance of the creational principle of sphere-sovereignty for differentiated societies and their future.

Published
2016-12-16
How to Cite
Strauss, D. (2016). Historical perspectives on Christianity and the future of our societies: philosophical considerations. Tydskrif Vir Christelike Wetenskap | Journal for Christian Scholarship, 52(4), 287-207. Retrieved from http://pubs.ufs.ac.za/index.php/tcw/article/view/409
Section
Artikels | Articles

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